|Apple will put an end to Ping with the next major iteration of iTunes, according to "sources close to the company" cited by AllThingsD. The software will likely ship in the fall, the site suggests. After that stage, Apple's only efforts at social networking are expected to be integration with Twitter and Facebook.
AllThingsD points out that although iTunes 10.6.3 still supports Ping, the network doesn't work in the iOS 6 beta. In fact v10.6.3 initially disabled Ping, but the current release of the software leaves it intact.
Ping first launched in September 2010, but ultimately never gained traction; many or perhaps even most posts on the network now are simply automatically generated, whether through Twitter cross-posts or iTunes purchases. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged that Ping is a failure. "We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said 'This isn't something that I want to put a lot of energy into,'" he commented at the recent D10 conference. The service launched without planned Facebook hooks, and is only accessible through iTunes or iOS -- unlike Twitter or Facebook, which are accessible via the web and apps for numerous different platforms.